Thursday, April 26, 2007

Week 51: Ithaca

Since everything's going "back to where it all started" this week--the calendar, the reprise of the "everyone gathering around the big golden statues" scene from the first issue, the return of the Bennett/Jadson art team, the preview of next issue's cover--and since I imagine next week's final post will have a lot of stuff from the issue at hand to chew on, this might be a good time to recapitulate a few points I've covered before, in convenient list format.

That list would be Stuff I Want, As a Reader, From Future Weekly/Event Comics, and How It Relates to 52:

1) 52 has singlehandedly used up the novelty of "the weekly comic." From here on out, if they're going to capture my interest, "event" projects need to be about something--both in terms of their plot and in terms of their theme. Pop quiz: in a sentence, what's 52 about? What's the elevator pitch? "A year without Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman" doesn't actually tell us anything much that's relevant to the story. Is it about the return of the parallel earths? Well, the ending seems to be--but most of the story isn't about that, or even building up to that. Is it about the reintroduction of 30-to-35-year-old Jack Kirby material into the main narrative current of the DCU? That's an effect, not a premise, and a setup for future stories, not a story itself. Civil War was a hair-tearing-out affair in a lot of ways, but it had a specific plot and some larger ideas behind that plot. 52? Not so much, as entertaining as its high points have been.

(Incidentally, I'd like to note for the record that I called the return of the parallel earths half a year ago... although, as I noted, I wasn't the first. And between this week's cover, DiDio's spoiler a while back, and the dialogue in this week's Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes--Booster Gold stealing a "tachyon disrupter rifle" because he's got "fifty-two worlds to save"--it's now obvious that's what's going on. I mean, I might yet eat crow next week. But I don't think I will.)

2) Here's a way 52 has set both a good and a bad example: artistic consistency. J.G. Jones' covers? Amazing, week after week. The trade dress--the cover design, and the ticker on the cover? Also a very nice touch. Giffen's layouts? They served as a unifying and clarifying element. The rest of the interior art? Joltingly inconsistent. There's been no real look and feel for 52, no way in which its appearance and style are its own. If the whole thing had looked like, say, Joe Bennett's issues, that'd have given it more of a flow; if the whole thing had looked more like Giffen's drawings, it could have been a lot more fun to look at.

3) Future weeklies/events need to be much more tightly plotted, start to finish, before the first issue starts rolling. 52, from what I gather, seems to have drifted off in some unexpected directions and then not gotten around to some potentially cool stuff it was going to include (and nine major characters was way too many). The pacing of its second act, in particular, was pretty slack. (Admittedly, the "one week per issue" gimmick kneecapped its capacity for cliffhangers.) Paul Dini has supposedly written a 100-page-plus "bible" for how Countdown and the DCU around it will operate for the next year; that's a good sign.

4) An event comic is effectively one more damn thing to buy, so if it's going to lead continuity, it has to feel like a flagship--which also means it has to be easier to jump onto, at least at the beginning, than any ordinary superhero comic. That's something that Waid's The Brave and the Bold is doing really well right now (the new one made me more interested in the current Blue Beetle than any of the handful of issues of Blue Beetle itself I've read), and that 52 was shaky about at best. It's not something I could hand to friends who read Ultimate Spider-Man or Bone or DMZ or All-Star Superman and say "here, this will all make sense to you by about ten pages in." If you don't know who Mister Mind is, for instance, the big reveal at the end of the penultimate issue of the series makes absolutely no sense.

This seems to be a recurring issue at DC. This week, I read Amazons Attack #1, which I couldn't make head or tail of despite having an M.A. in DC continuity (I hear I should've read Wonder Woman #8 first, but I'm not going back to the store to fill in the blanks of an issue numbered #1)--and whose title (at least), I remembered, was originally going to be one of the pre-Infinite Crisis minis. Memo to the Powers That Be: Just because you've got a piece of intellectual property lying around doesn't mean you have to use it.

5) Similarly, a thing 52 did really well at first, and a related thing it could've done better: the "old vs. new" problem. There are almost 70 years' worth of DC continuity to play with, and one of the most fun things about at least the first half of 52 was its sense of navigating through a huge and wonderful world full of characters and places that have rich, exciting stories behind them. But there's also a tragedy and farce involved in making history repeat itself over and over--recycling and updating franchises until they've worn to transparency. I don't want to see another '80s series revived, even the ones I liked. No Arak, Son of Thunder, no Vigilante, no Nathaniel Dusk, no Cinder and Ashe, no... oh, jeez, virtually every other example I was thinking of has actually already been given its own new series in the last couple of years. I mean, I'd be happy for any of them to appear in passing, but I'd also love event comics to introduce useful characters and concepts to the canon. Toys 52 has introduced (rather than reconfigured) that are still around for other people to use as of One Year Later: Lady Styx (was she a 52 invention or a Starlin invention?), Everyman, Oolong Island, and... can that really be it?

6) Bonuses. I really liked the two-page origin stories--they were a great little lagniappe for the issues they appeared in--and it's useful to have something to get curious readers up to speed on the tricky continuity of stuff like 52. (Actually, as much as I've enjoyed annotating the obscuro references in this series, I've thought a couple of times that it'd have been great to have issues end with a one- or two-page explanatory text feature, pointing toward particular issues or collections referenced by the story, in lieu of the old Silver Age "editor's notes"...)

7) It has to come out on time, because the point for readers is enjoyment rather than frustration. Full points and an extra high five to 52 for this one.

8) Above all this, "event" comics need to not just fulfill their continuity function but be totally fun and exciting in their own right--every time I get burned, it makes me less interested in picking up the next big crossover. One thing I neglected to mention in so many words last week about the World War III specials was that they were so crummy and joyless they actively annoyed me. What I'm getting, and what I think other people are getting too, isn't "event fatigue" so much as a longing for the hype to pay off in pleasure rather than in tiresome metaplot machinations, and a feeling of being bait-and-switched too often. The thing that drew me to 52 in the first place (and made me even contemplate the insane idea of doing this blog) was the writers' enthusiasm for the energy of their collaboration, and as inconsistent as it's been, there have been parts where they're obviously really getting into it. That pleasure in creation and play is infectious, it's what I liked best about the series, and it's what I want from the projects it's paved the way for.

Giffen Layout Watch: It's like there's a little 3/4-size edition of the Red Tornado, going "39! 39! 39!"

More notes:

Pg. 3: A much milder version of the return of Odysseus--he doesn't have to slaughter the suitors, just comment on Roger's toupée.

Pg. 5: The young boy, of course, isn't going to get named here. And wouldn't be great if Donna didn't immediately assume Diana's hairstyle and body type once she put on the costume?

Pg. 7: John Stewart sighting #1.

Pg. 9: The S******y statue in panel 2 sure looks like it was flown in from a few pages earlier--pixelated, even. But that's a great explanation of Tim's new costume.

Pg. 10: John Stewart sighting #2. The guy moves fast. (Can somebody tell me where Hal Jordan's been through all of this?) So did Mogo actually fly Alan home, as panel 4 suggests? Doesn't he have a gravitational field? (Isn't that exactly the problem Rann was dealing with in The Rann-Thanagar War?) Also: was Adam's blindness for the rest of this storyline something that was supposed to have greater resonance than it did?

Pg. 11: I don't recognize the flame creatures--although they sure seem like the kind of thing that would have menaced Rann back in the Mystery in Space days, and other flame creatures appeared in Diana's series in 1964, and again in the unnameable series in 1968. But the most notable flame creatures in DC history appear briefly in this issue's backup: the fire giants of Appellax, who first appeared in the original origin of the Justice League. (Barry Allen uses the technique Adam suggests to deal with his giant.) And can anybody ID the other Green Lantern?

Pg. 14: I was wrong: two pages was exactly the amount of space it took to wrap this plot thread up satisfactorily.

Pg. 15: Those aliens look like a cross between this guy and this guy, with a little Apokoliptic squiggle on their shirts, to boot. Might as well have just been wearing T-shirts that said "Kirby Is Coming!"

Pg. 19: Some kind of atavistic comics-reader species-memory makes me think that this X-Treem '90s version of Mr. Mind must be a visual riff on the revelation of the big bad Mr. Mind as the bespectacled worm in the original "Monster Society of Evil" serial back in the '40s. (And, like Sobek, he's hungry--the return of the devouring meme I mentioned a while ago.) But I have no idea--that stuff hasn't been in print in sixty years. Kind of a problem for a source of allusions, when you think about it.

Pg. 20: Interesting that Rip says "lose" rather than "die"--there's some larger cause they're working for.

The Origin of the Justice League of America: Those are some big, toothy smiles. Retconned to be part of the origin: Black Canary, which is only fair, since she was removed from the redrawn cover of JLA #21 a few weeks ago. Re-retconned to be part of the origin again: Wonder Woman!

If there's something you'd like to see me talk about here next week, get your requests in now, and I'll see what I can do--!


At 3:33 AM, Blogger T Campbell... said...

New stuff left behind:

I think Montoya-as-the-Question is-- not "new" exactly but sufficiently new. Egg Fu too.

The Crime Bible, that's still going to be around.

Oolong Island seems to have been shut down, though. (Which is probably fitting. I thought the island of mad scientists was a nice little meta-representation of 52's writing team.)

I would like to see a bit more of Infinity, Inc. now. There aren't too many stories about people who have everything they need to be superheroes except GUTS.

And I'll place my bet now: I think Batwoman's survived. The last words we've heard Montoya say are "this time it's different," which sound like a touching piece of denial... but she's been to Nanda "we have a cure for everything" Pardat, and she's read a book that detailed exactly what was going to happen to Batwoman. Under those circumstances, not to have a backup plan in case the prophecy came true seems almost criminally arrogant.

At 4:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to ask (as if you haven't done enough!), but if you haven't addressed it already, are you going to continue this blog for Countdown?

I only ask because I've really enjoyed your insights! thanks again for a great year.

At 5:01 AM, Blogger Steven said...

Pop quiz: in a sentence, what's 52 about?

I was thinking about this for a post, so I'll give the short version here.

52 is about change, those that try to change the world, those that try to change themselves.

In the wake of the reality warping Infinite Crisis, with the guardians of the Earth out of commission for one reason or another, forces ranging from Lex Luthor to Black Adam to Intergang to "Evil Skeets" set out to remake the world(s) in their own image. Even Ralph Dibny tries to rewrite the laws of life and death.

But, as they all learn, real change can't be imposed. Power given is power that can be taken back (in the case of Natasha Irons), or the world outright rejects their rather personal views of what's right and what's wrong.

No, change has to come from within. Ralph can't bring back his wife, he can only become the hero he once was. Natasha has to build her own armor. And Vic Sage can't make Renee Montoya the new Question, she has to become it on her own.

It all comes to transformation and the question "Who R U?"

So of course the caterpillar is the Big Bad!

At 5:34 AM, Blogger CandidGamera : said...

I find it intensely amusing that the 31st century got "boostered". That is all.

At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have to disagree with you about the new beetle - that has proven, i think, to be the best new character DC's come out with in quite a while. everything about the book is designed to both bring a new reader into the DC world gradually as BB is brought into that world, or serves as an interesting suspense-creator because the reader knows what BB might be up against while no one actually involved in the story does. but most of all, i find that book to just be pure, unadulterated comics FUN - along the lines of robert kirkman's invincible, which i also really enjoy

At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Douglas - the series was far stronger in the first half and the second half suffered in both pace and "point". I did not get tired of 52-the-weekly-event (I still remember the excitement and richness and story that existed thru about week 28 or so), I got tired of the story itself and disappointment payoffs, so much that Wednesdays actually turned into a bit of a chore.

I applaud the writers - the first time out on something as ambitious as this is bound to have bumps, and in this case those bumps were not the ones we expected, such as delays. It just didn't turn out like I hoped and believed halfway through, either ... which was another addition to my shelf like Watchmen.

The experience leads me to believe that I probably will not pick up Countdown on a weekly basis, but rather go online to read up on what's going on and buy the trades if they seem to be interesting.

I would like to thank Doug in advance for the effort this year. Great stuff - my "payment" to you is to purchase your book in July. As an incentive to keep this up for Countdown, or at least some kind of blog with your observations on that story (maybe not so ambitious as this 52 journal) - use it as a tool to pimp your book!

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Paul I said...

I had no idea who Mr Mind was (I guess I just have a high school diploma in the DCU), but the reveal at the end of this issue still seemed pretty obvious. Besides, how much exposition do you really need for "Akkk it's a giant bug!"

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

"Kiss my ass" ringtone.


At 8:45 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Hopefully they're going to reveal precisely when Mind entered Skeets; it was probably while he was opened up in Magnus' lab, but how'd the cocoon make it to Magnus' lab? Was the cocoon broken open by then?

At 8:53 AM, Blogger zc said...

I must say, this is my favorite cover of the whole series. =D

Also, I like Steven's suggestion for the meat of the series. Makes sense to me.

I need to go back and look at the scripts, because I remember the MOrrow/Rip/Booster sequence being a few pages longer and actually featuring the appearence of the Red Inferno and the like. (Maybe I should start a blog that goes through major differences in the evolution of certain issues of the series. Hmm.)

I've also got a few things to say about Rip's "lose" comment, but that can wait until next week since it involves changed dialogue in #52.

Thanks for this blog, Doug--you certainly made understanding this thing one whole hell of a lot easier! =D

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Douglas Wolk said...

T: absolutely right on the Crime Bible. (And I forgot the Great Ten!) Montoya-as-Question and Egg Fu, though, are both reconfigured IP that was already kicking around DC.

Anonymous: a very good question--come back next week for the answer!

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Keith said...

How giant is Mr. Mind? From his big revealed, he's still popping out of Skeets, which is kind of small. I'm thinking maybe that panel is lifesized. He also looks like a mutalisk from Starcraft.

Suspendium may be his deus ex machina device. That's how Mr. Mind can do... anything really.

At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This edition in and of itself was 1000% more satisfying than all 4 WWWIII editions.

Pretty well written, although it still seems like there's a lot hanging out there. The millions of dead people aren't even mentioned in time going backwards?

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I read most (but not all) of the comments so far and what is 52 about??? For me??? Well it's a story about a bunch of lower level guys being put in and surviving the absolute worst situations in the DC Universe. On top of that, they don't have their regular deus ex ma chinas around to bail their asses out of the crap they've gotten themselves into. It's an underdog story.

Was it over ambitious??? Yes, and I could ramble about the whole 52/1YL plot holes thing for a month and how much I've hated it. Did the inside art suck ass??? Most of the time. Was it good??? Well next week should be an awesome conclusion, but hell yes. This is the kind of thing I love comics for. A bunch of nobodies becoming somebodies. Telling a "real" life super-hero story with many "real" death defying moments and personal reflections - with a "real" but happy ending. I've been able to suspend disbelief and imagine these characters in way that I'll probably will never get to again.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Thanks, Doug, for all your hard work putting this thing together week after week. I started reading within the first few weeks and between your comments and those of the commenters, I found that even with a 30-year history as a DC fan, there were still things I missed in the stories that I wouldn't have gotten if not from here. Thank!

At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't think that was John Stewart on Rann since he was just on Earth - just another black-looking (since I'm assuming he's not from Earth) Green LAntern. But it was distracting.

It's hard to talk about big giant themes without knowing the absolute final end of the series. One disappointment I had though was that I thought from the panels at San Diego last year that all the character arcs were going to converge at some point.

Also, how did they know about Ralph? I thought no one was allowed in or out of that house?

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...

FINALLY!!! Had to create a Google account as my old blogger account no longer worked. Hence my silence the last few weeks.

First off, Douglas, I really appreciate the time and effort you and the regular posters have gone through to create the blog. I'm seriously going to miss it when it's gone. Any time I can geek out on obscure DC trivia, I appreciate it and this blog has made even the slower weeks of 52 fun and interesting.

Longshot, I'm assuming that since Fire was in attendence at the celebration that she passed the word to the other heroes. And full props to my four year old son, Kael, who was able to properly identify her and many other heroes in the two page spread. :)

For me, I think that 52 was a chance to spotlight people that would have never been spotlighted in any other format and as a result, been given a new lease on life. Two years ago, would any of us ever thought that Booster would get his own series?

I, think that some of the other storylines ground the momentum to a halt in the late 30's. I know that as Booster's story took a break my interest waned. Not necessarily because of his absence but because it meant that the wonder and sheer Silver Age fun that was Rip's blackboard was ignored for that much longer. Outside of that, only the Oolong Island stuff really grabbed me.


At 2:08 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

Here's an unanswered question:

How did Lobo come to be indebted to the Triple Fish God?

I figure he probably ran over one of his beloved Space Dolphins and the god said "that's it, you owe me" and sent Lobo on a quest.

Then-again, if that would have been the case; retrieving the Emerald Eye as penance for killing a Space Dolphin, Lobo likely would not have killed the Triple Fish God. He'd probably have gone on his way.

I do like that the god is covered in Kirbytech.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Jacob Munford said...

In terms of concepts to be played with after the fact, I'd probably read a miniseries about the Croatoan Society from #18.

That said, I've really enjoyed this blog and will miss it when (if?) it is gone. Thanks for the hard work.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Douglas Wolk said...

Aw, man, thanks for all the kind words, everyone! And don't worry: I will be flogging Reading Comics something fierce here next week.

Squashua: The Triple Fish God thing makes sense to me--obviously somebody hired Lobo to bump him off, and the entire religious-conversion/nonviolence thing was one big ruse to get close enough to the T.F.G. with the Emerald Eye to execute the contract.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Unless he was just awed by a being even he could not harm...until now!

At 6:05 PM, Blogger Dante Kleinberg said...

I'm not going to explain it as well as they did, but the guys at Around Comics podcast did a 52 recap episode for the first 50 issues (why not wait 2 more weeks? they asked themselves the same question) that did a great job making the whole thing feel like one big story with one unifying theme. Check it out if you are a disbeliever. I think it is

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Scipio said...

"What's the elevator pitch?"

I, for one, am happy for comics and stories that can't be effectively boiled down into an elevator pitch.

"One more damn thing to buy".

I don't understand why someone with that attitude reads comics at all. Much too little product is a problem; having too much is not.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Keith said...

scipio, you're absolutely right. People are in effect complaining that there are too many good comics.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Douglas Wolk said...

Scipio and Keith: I've got no problem with "too many good comics"; what bugs me is comics that I need to read to understand what's going on in other comics I like (unless they're really good themselves, in which case they don't bug me at all).

(Also, Scipio, I'm trying to think of good mainstream comics of the past that can't be elevator-pitched--can you cite a couple of examples? I'm actually pretty curious. The only one that jumps to mind is The Invisibles.)

At 12:12 AM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

Seems like Morrison is the go-to guy when it comes to non-elevator pitches: I'm thinking The Filth and Seaguy.

At 12:37 AM, Blogger Keith said...

I wasn't targeting you, Mr. Wolk, but rather the common complaint that this week cost x dollars. I find so many things wrong with that line.

Crossovers do not interest me one bit. Luckily I've found the DC events like Infinite Crisis to be pretty self-sufficient compared to things like House of M and Civil War. 52 depends on DC lore, but the gist of it is in there if you read from the beginning. Early on a cocoon was found, it's occupant unknown. Now we find out it's in Skeets, making him act evilly, and it's hatching into the big bad. The who-is-Mr.Mind is interesting, but not critical to the 52 story.

As proof of 52's accessibility, my older brother saw a random issue laying around, from somewhere in December. He read it, and had some questions, but enjoyed it on its own merits.

I didn't even touch AA or WW #8. Wonder Woman has been a pretty big burn and I'm not really interested in the Amazons anyway.

At 1:55 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Who needs other comics or even back issues when we've got you, Doug? Thanks for saving me X dollars a week!

Something did bother me about this week's 52 that I don't think you mentioned...Mrs. Baker's inappropriately tight dress. I don't know if I've ever seen a dress that was formed exactly to the bottom of the breast as hers is. Who can blame Roger for the thoughts he was obviously having?

Things I'd like to see for next week...hmm. Solve the mystery of ZC...who is this mysterious insider? How about an Academy Awards style montage of all the people that died in the past 52 weeks (including the fodder from New Year's)? And maybe a No-Prize contest for your readers to fill in the gaps that the writers of 52 omitted in their dash for the finish line?

At 2:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Hal Jordan's absence from the second half of 52.

Geoff Johns took Hal off the board in recent Green Lantern issues, where flashbacks reveal he and fellow airforce pilots "Cowgirl" and "the other guy" are shot down and kidnapped by "terrorists" and held captive and beaten for months. During which time Jordon reflects on the wisdom of flying without his ring.

Don't worry though, he goes back OYL and beats the crap out of them with ring-generated World War II GIs. If you haven't read it, I recommend picking it up. An astonishingly ill timed piece of jingoism if ever there was one.

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Squashua said...


I didn't interpret it your way at all. I saw that Lobo was indebted to the Triple Fish God and was really trying to stay the nonviolence path. It was Fishy the Space Dolphin who made him go the other route (mostly). Once Lobo was told by the 3FG that the eye was the only thing that could kill him, and that the 3FG was somewhat unresponsive in answering whether he was out of his debt, Lobo saw an easier way out of his situation: Kill the 3FG with the eye.

No pre-meditation involved in this murder.

At 7:24 AM, Blogger dcu-reviews said...

On Page 10, if I had to guess, that is Vath Sarn, the GL from Rann. Sadly, the GL next to him is not his usual partner (Isamot Kol).

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Douglas Wolk said...

Raphaeladidas: I'm with you on The Filth. But Seaguy... I think it was Jog (can't find the reference) who described it with something along the lines of "if you're going to look behind the veil of How Things Seem to Be, you'd better be ready for what you find there."

Eric: Not only does Ellen have a super-clingy dress, it's a different one from the outfit she's wearing in Buddy's glimpse of the future a few weeks ago! (With which she was wearing pearls, too.)

At 6:04 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

That's a good summary of Seaguy.

I was going to save this for next week, but since the praise is already flying...

I truly believe that this blog has made reading 52 a better experience. Hell, there've been several times when I was looking forward to reading the blog more than the comic. I wouldn't have enjoyed the series nearly as much without your input, Douglas, and the input of all the posters.

I really hope you're going to be doing something for Countdown; otherwise, I probably won't even bother with it (though I fear even if you do a new blog, Countdown isn't going to provide as much grist for the mill.)

At 11:16 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

Doug and frequent posters -- thanks for making 52 even more fun for me. I'll never get paid to be a comics conspiracy theorist, but having a forum for intelligent discussion (even though I rarely participated) was relly the icing on one of the nest comics experiences I've had in 25 years as a fan/reader/collector. The new mindset of a weekly; the focus on different characters; the many, many bits of minutiae that Doug or commenters laid on the table to disect . . .

anyways, just trying to show a little appreciation before the big five-two.

I'd sumbit that if there's no official "Countdown" coverage here or elsewhere by Mr. Wolk, then perhaps we can set up a discussion forum for the regulars to this site?

-- jer

At 11:17 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

um, excuse all horrible typos. "best" not "nest", etc. gahh.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Emmet Matheson said...

What everyone else said. I actually only had two comics waiting for me this week and was contemplating waiting until next Wednesday to get them, but caved because reading this blog (and posting comments on it) has become such an integral part of my comics enjoyment over the last year.

As for John Stewart on Earth and on Rann, one of them could be his Energy Twin.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pop quiz: in a sentence, what's 52 about? What's the elevator pitch? "A year without Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman" doesn't actually tell us anything much that's relevant to the story.

One sentence summation: 52 is DC in a bottle.

Elevator pitch: Rather than taking a comprehensive approach, detailing the DC universe in all its many facets, the series focusses on a select handful of representatives, documenting their stories over a year when the big name properties (i.e. those characters by which DC is typically defined) are out of commission. By series end, the frontiers of exploration are blown wide open, but the reader is grounded in what this comic book world is all about: the types of characters, stories, themes, genre influences, and ideas.

That's my take. No, doesn't really define "the 52 story," but you can't. It's a series with multiple stories, each with its own plot and theme. Doesn't mean there isn't an overall concept to it all, though.

Incidentally, did you notice how Animal Man/Odysseus was recognized by his dog? I thought that was cool.


At 5:54 AM, Blogger Will Staples said...

Regarding John Stewart, Rann orbits Polaris (since the Rann/Thanagar War), right? Green Lanterns can travel at faster-than-light speeds, and Polaris is in relatively close proximity to Sol, so he could easily have gotten there in a couple of days.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the praise that has been hitting this blog. Really, really excellent stuff and please, please, please do one for Countdown !!!

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Gabe said...

Hey Douglas -- since you asked for requests, I'd like to hear your thoughts on how 52, and your reading of it, were influenced by the collaborative writing process. Two specific questions jump out at me: (1) Is 52 a coherent story in any way, or a bunch of separate stories with their scenes shuffled together? (You've raised this on a thematic level, like "What is 52 about?", but I'm asking just on a basic plot level.) (2) It seems like it's kind of verboten to say this, but Grant Morrison is just a better, more interesting writer than his collaborators. (Waid's LSH is terrific, but it's not New X-Men or Seven Soldiers.) Just this week: "I'm still solar-powered. Your own personal morning." Who else's superheroes say stuff like that? I'm curious as to whether this kind of thing had any effect on you.

Let me add my thanks to the chorus: this blog has made 52 way more fun.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, #52 was...oddly disturbing. I can't wait to read the full breakdown.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Paul I said...

Loved the last issue. Lots of great character beats. Some joy. Some tears. Some usual awkwardness. Good show. Can't wait to read your blog-up, Doug.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

Last issue == best issue. Not every question answered, but it does close, I guess.

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Paul I said...

And "Mr Mind snorts the universe" is the new Superboy punch?

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Keith said...

love #52. love it!

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Isn't it odd how Mr. Mind's eating of universes seems to make them conform to patterns that existed in the old multiverse?

Kingdom Come being a separate universe, rather than the future, is a very good thing, though, IMO.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Chris Arndt said...

Back in the early nineties "The Monster Society of Evil" was available in hard cover for over one hundred dollars (in 1993 money) from Kitchen Sink or whoever.

Not 6o years. Ten.


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